Ssshhhhh. Do you hear that? It’s the sound of hardwood nirvana – on the college court, on the high school court, and in the Woodard household.
Sportscasters and fans alike like to refer to this time of year as “March madness,” but to me, it is a moment every year where basketball players have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to convert their dreams into reality.
I graduated from Creighton University, home of the Bluejays and a special basketball player named Doug McDermott. I could go on and on about what this young man has meant to my alma mater, but here are a few highlights worth mentioning:
– National Player of the Year
– Son of the head coach, Greg McDermott (one of the coolest father/son relationships I’ve ever seen)
– Holds Big East tournament single game scoring record (he sunk 35 points last night in Creighton’s first game in the Big East tournament, in a far tougher battle field as compared to the Missouri Valley Conference the university left last year)
– Pictured on the latest issue of Sports Illustrated in a throw-back, Larry Bird inspired cover
– Surpassed the NCAA college basketball 3,000 points mark at home in front of a record breaking crowd in Omaha, Nebraska (scored a mere 45 points that game)
– Heading into tonight’s game against Xavier, sits at #7 on the NCAA all-time scoring leaders list (must score at least 20 points to jump to #5)
– Doubted his own potential to succeed in basketball and once considered retiring from his playing days to become a team manager for his dad
– Thanks his family, his teammates, and his university every chance he gets – both privately and in front of the media
– Can score from literally anywhere on the court (Think I’m exaggerating? Watch this gif pinpointing every place on the court he scored from last night.)
My two sisters-in-law played basketball at Creighton. And I played softball there. Now you know why I bleed blue.
Here’s an understatement for you: I married into a family that somewhat appreciates the game of basketball.
I personally transformed from a player who played the sport in high school to keep myself in shape during the off-season into a mom who voluntarily pulls her kids out of school to support their grandpa and future high school in the postseason.
My father-in-law was my former teacher in high school and coached my husband and my brother-in-law nearly two decades ago in basketball.
He continued to coach throughout the years and decided to move from our smaller high school, Roncalli Catholic – where his team won a state basketball championship in Class B in 1996 – to coach at one of the larger high schools in the city where we live now. During his time at Bellevue West, the TBirds have won three state championships in boys basketball: 2000, 2004, and 2005.
They’re back competing in the NSAA State Tournament at the same time their college idols are playing in their respective post-season conference tournaments.
They just dethroned the four-time defending Class A state champion Central Eagles in their tournament opener last night. They’ll face the Norfolk Panthers tonight in the semifinal.
They are hungry.
That makes me happy.
I know I’m not alone when I say this is a special time of year. My hope is that, no matter what the score reads when that final buzzer sounds, these young men can step outside of themselves and fully appreciate this amazing chapter in their lives.
Written by Heidi Woodard
Five-foot 7 inch Jewish kid originally from Denver here. Basketball was just not a part of my upbringing. I do though, appreciate it — especially at the high school and college levels. I do strength & conditioning for my local high girl’s team, and go to as many games as I can. My daughter attended DePaul, a onetime powerhouse in the Big East.
It’s a beautiful game when it’ not played by crybaby millionaire dunkers. AND, since I have an attachment to Creighton myself (several friends are alums), I follow them from a distance. Bleed blue, it suits you well.
I suppose I technically bleed purple, since my college color was red, but I’m hoping Creighton will adopt me based on my dedication as a fan this season. What a great March this has been on all levels. So much fun to watch! Good luck to the TBirds tonight! I really wish I could watch them play in the State Tournament. I will, however, be glued to the tv tonight watching the Bluejays!
Liked your post! I was in New York at the time and I am just getting around to reading it!